PACE adopts resolutions on a special tribunal for Russia and condemnation of crimes against Ukrainian identity

On June 26, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe supported three resolutions concerning Ukraine. The documents refer to a special tribunal for the Russian Federation, the strengthening of sanctions, and the condemnation of crimes against Ukrainian identity.

This was reported by Yevheniia Kravchuk, Deputy Chair of the Committee on Humanitarian and Information Policy and member of the permanent delegation to PACE.

The resolution was supported by 103 votes.

The document contains provisions to support Ukrainian culture and preserve Ukrainian identity. 

The resolution specifically denounces Russia’s systematic state policy of russification, which has been in place in the Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine since 2014 and includes the denial of Ukrainian cultural identity, language, literature, and history.

The document also states that the intentional destruction of cultural heritage and the erasure of cultural identity in Ukraine constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity, and indicate a specific genocidal intent to destroy the Ukrainian national identity.

According to Yevheniia Kravchuk, today we managed to adopt an important amendment on the oppression of indigenous peoples of the Russian Federation: the aggressor is pursuing a policy of russification against numerous indigenous peoples of the country, also gradually erasing their cultural identity and depriving them of their historical memory.

The PACE resolution calls on member states to

  • Ratify the European Council conventions on cultural heritage protection.
  • Strengthening sanctions for arbitrary military destruction is not justified by “urgent military necessity.”
  • expand the scope of its legal regulation to include violations against cultural heritage, including cultural cleansing.
  • Provide for full reparation on the basis of international law, in particular through restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction, and guarantees of non-repetition of destruction.
  • strengthen the ability to combat illicit trafficking in cultural property, in particular by sanctioning all those who carry out or facilitate the illicit movement of or trade in artifacts, conduct or organize illegal excavations, or use artifacts for their own purposes (exhibitions, auctions, scientific publications), and ensuring that the authorities and state institutions involved are held accountable for these actions.
  • Develop training for military, police, customs, and justice officials to facilitate the prevention, investigation, and prosecution of cultural heritage offenses.
  • Raise awareness of how propaganda, imperial, and neo-imperial practices, including the ideology of the “Russian world,” can create the basis for violations of international law, including against cultural heritage.
  • raise awareness about Russia’s targeted militarization of Ukrainian children in its occupied territories.
  • Furthermore, the document states that the organization’s member states will assist Ukraine in collecting, recording, documenting, and storing evidence of crimes committed by Russia against tangible and intangible cultural heritage in Ukraine, particularly in order to assess damages and obtain reparations. The organization will also assist Ukraine in digitizing cultural heritage sites and property, establishing institutions to optimize funding, enhancing heritage management, and executing reconstruction efforts. Additionally, we will support our nation in creating cultural heritage projects, fostering cultural vitality and exchanges, offering assistance and resources to artists, writers, musicians, and other cultural professionals, and financing projects, grants, and residency programs.

At the same time, the PACE adopted two more resolutions: on a special tribunal for Russia and on strengthening sanctions. This is stated on the organization’s website. 

The Assembly said that the special tribunal, established by agreement between the Council of Europe and Ukraine, is open to all states and organizations and is “the best possible option in terms of legal framework and political legitimacy” to bring Russia’s political and military leadership to justice for its aggression against Ukraine. The parliamentarians emphasized that there can be no peace without accountability. 

The PACE also demanded the seizure and re-profiling of Russian state assets for transfer to an international compensation fund for Ukraine. The Assembly also suggested ways to eliminate “gaps and loopholes” in the current sanctions against Russia. The recommendations include listing and banning shadow fleet vessels, strengthening export controls, and holding parent companies accountable for the actions of their subsidiaries.

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